back to article Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First

Controversy has erupted around Microsoft's Windows 10 preview. More specifically, questions are being raised about the amount of tracking – and the depth of tracking – that was built into the preview. The Windows 10 technical preview goes so far as to monitor your typing, potentially crossing the line from instrumentation of …

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  1. Caff

    rant-like journalism

    Good points raised but took some effort to read it all due to my tendancy to zone out during long winded rants.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: rant-like journalism

      Have you considered Dextroamphetamine? It tends to help with gnat-like attention spans.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: rant-like journalism

        My attention span weakens through out the day. In the morning, I have attention with the strength of 10,000 suns, cutting through boring dull procedure articles. As the day nears it's end, I find my attention has the strength of a tea light.

        This article did come out late in the day... I have to admit to skimming a few paragraphs as well!

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: rant-like journalism

          That's why I recommended Dextroamphetamine. Honestly, as someone with some hardcore adult ADD - my wife has ADHD as well, as do several of our friends and family - it's worth considering. The two biggest symptoms of adult ADD/ADHD are "decreased willpower" and "decreased ability to focus."

          Everyone has something called "decision exhaustion", where we find it harder to make decisions as the day goes on. Little decisions eat into our ability. Do we have toast, or a bagel? The blue pants, or the red?

          But ADHD individuals have a dramatically increased susceptibility to decision fatigue, and this gets coupled with "willpower fatigue" to leave us unable to force ourself to focus. And we must - it is an exercise of will for us to focus - because our brains are structurally different from normal people.

          Stimulants - Ritalin, Dexedrine, Caffeine, etc - basically chemically provide us with a boost to our willpower and decision-making capabilities. It varies based ont eh chemical and individual, but it's why it works for us. (I could go into a lot more scientific depth, bu you do have Google right there.)

          If you have trouble reading through a three-page article then the chances are really good that you have adult ADHD. And it isn't an attempt at insult to suggest that trying standard therapies could lead to increased quality of life. From one person who struggles with ADHD: don't knock it until you've tried it. If you do have the same neural structural issues that the make ADHD people what we are, then you might be shocked at just how big a difference it can honestly make.

          P.S. also Google "hyperfocus". It's a skill - and a curse - unique to people with true ADD/ADHD. It is worth some time and research into it's capabilities...and it's downsides.

          1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

            Re: rant-like journalism

            Huh?

            Trevor writes a long and serious article about real concerns with modern software, then adds a comment advocating drugs medications.

            But what can I do except stick with Linux or XP?

            1. Khaptain Silver badge

              Re: rant-like journalism

              Agreed, Ritalin should certainely not be used within the same statement as caffeine.

              Ritalin, and its abuse, can lead to some extremely difficult situations, it is a prescription drug for a reason. Unfortunately some doctors seem to prescribe it far too easily.

              Most of the people that I work with also have low attention spans, and I mean within a professional environment, but I would not consider them as requiring Ritalin, Caffeine or any other drug, that's just not serious.

              The contemporary working environment has us constantly shifting between tasks, the attention span is often never more than an hour or so on the same subject. Shit there are days when I feel as though I am shifting every 5 minutes or so.

              1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                Re: rant-like journalism

                You'll note I did advise looking into Dexedrine. Ritalin is far worse than the alternatives.

                That said, Caffeine absolutely does have similar - albeit far less powerful - effects to both Ritalin an Dexedrine on individuals with ADHD. As a matter of fact, you are generally advised against combining them - especially during the initial dose-adjustment phase - for exactly that reason. It's hard to know what the right dose is for you if you are pounding back the caffeine as well.

                Also: "having a low attention span" does not necessarily mean you have ADHD, though it is often a good indicator. ADHD is a very real - and serious - condition that has demonstrable physiological effects. You can place a person under an MRI and see differences in how their brain responds under certain conditions than a normal person.

                ADHD is typically over-diagnosed in children. That said, it is often under-diagnosed in adults. Many doctors - to say nothing of lay practitioners - still labour under the belief that you can be "cured" of ADHD simply by wishing it away, or as a condition of "growing into adulthood. This is false.

                As I stated in my comment above:everyone can - and does - suffer from decision fatigue. (Though "willpower fatigue" is a lot rarer.) ADHD people can vary from individuals with decision fatigue resistance and willpower close to that of a normal person - and thus an attention span close to that of a normal person - to those who are overwhelmed by choices before they even leave the front door for work.

                If someone is honestly easily distractable then it absolutely is worth their while to investigate whether or not they have adult ADHD. From there, they can look at different treatment modalities.

                The quickest way to tell if you have ADHD is honestly to take a mild dose of Dexidrine for a week. If you have ADHD, you'll know. It will change your life.

                However, once you have been identified as having adult ADHD there is nothing that says you are restricted to pharmacological treatment modalities, and I would strongly encourage people to look at the alternatives.

                Meditative techniques worked (mostly) for me. They get me to the point that I can deal with my ADHD using just caffiene, and I don't have to rely on Dexedrine except on my worst days. There is also neurofeedback. This is basically a means of gamifying the same sorts of neural patterns you learn through meditation. Neither of these work on everyone with ADHD.

                Make no mistake: meditative or neurofeedback techniques for resolving ADHD will not cure it. They do not allow you to just "will yourself better". What they do is provide you a coping mechanism that allows you to become more functional than you would otherwise be, and they offer a tradeoff point between the capabilities provided by stimulants like Dexedrine and Ritalin and the fog of not treating ADHD at all.

                In addition to the above:

                Ritalin and Dexedrine are amphetamines. They absolutely will have massively deleterious side effects on individuals without ADHD. They should only ever be taken with the consent - and ongoing support and monitoring - of a qualified physician. They absolutely will affect individuals with ADHD completely differently than they will affect individuals without ADHD. (Just as Caffeine will, incidentally, but the effect of Caffeine is so much lower that it's hard to judge in many people.)

                It is for this reason that these drugs are prescription, and why monitoring and support by a qualified physician is so important. They will - or should, if they are any good at their job - look for the signs that verify that individual indeed has ADHD (and thus can benefit from the drug in question) and will absolutely not allow a non-ADHD individual to continue use.

                All of that said, don't dismiss ADHD as some myth. It's not...and identifying and treating it will make for a huge positive quality of life improvement in anyone unfortunate enough to have it. If I seem passionate about it, well...it's because I am.

                I've known about my ADHD my whole life, but my wife was only diagnosed (and began treatment) about a year ago. It absolutely changed her life. Getting her ADHD under control allowed her the ability to start doing tasks she otherwise found overwhelming, and this massively changed her self confidence and self image. It ultimately led to notable change in the lows and the frequency what had been episodes of clinical depression.

                So yeah...why not talk about these sorts of things? Why the social taboo around mental illness? It is the fact that we choose to laugh uncomfortably about these things and mock those who discuss them that makes them so much harder to deal with.

                If there's evidence that attention span may be a problem, I say take the time and effort out to see if it might be indicative of something more serious. If so, it could be that some fairly small changes could lead to a happier, more productive you.

                1. Khaptain Silver badge

                  Re: rant-like journalism

                  @Trevor

                  I will give you a thumb up for having stated, albeit a bit late, the fact that neither Ritalin or Dexedrine should be messed with. A long time ago I knew "speed junkies" that would inject Ritalin when no other amphetamines were available. The results were not pretty.

                  But a thumb down for the ADHD publicity.. It has already endlessly been discussed on the forums with extreme prejudice from both sides. Depending on the level of ADHD, almost everyone could be diagnosed with it.

                  I personally believe that the over-publication/mediatisation could result in a negative outcome whereby the "Upper Range " sufferers receive far less needed attention because it would then become a "common / less serious / more diluted problem" . I do agree that things should be spoken about though just with a little less mediatisation.

                  1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                    Re: rant-like journalism

                    The thing is, ADHD isn't something that you "might have, but we can't prove". We absolutely can prove whether or not you have it. Putting someone on Dexedrine for a week will make a proper doctor 95% certain. If - for whatever reason - they were less than certain, 1/2 hr in an MRI would tell you beyond any reasonable doubt.

                    We've come a long way since the 1980s.

                    I submit, sir, that you may be laboring under prejudices about ADHD that are not valid in proper clinical practice. Your prejudice may be understandable - as it is a natural human impulse to link abuse of the drugs used in the treatment of a disease with the disease itself - but I honestly believe that sort of prejudice is as much a part of the problem as the past tendency towards overdiagnosis.

                    Neither mental illness nor pharmacology should not be taboo. Instead, education and open discussion should be the norm, so that we can all better understand the conditions, the treatments, the ramifications...and the abuses.

                    I'm sorry we're at odds on that belief, but I hope, in time, society catches up to the point that such debates are no longer necessary.

                    1. Vic

                      Re: rant-like journalism

                      ADHD isn't something that you "might have, but we can't prove". We absolutely can prove whether or not you have it.

                      Yeah, maybe.

                      My missus was a teacher in an inner-city school until she retired. A significant proportion of her pupils were diagnoses ADHD.

                      From this, we can determine at least one of two things :-

                      - ADHD is a normal part of the human condition

                      - ADHD is dramatically over-diagnosed.

                      We should probably ignore the first of these, as it boils down to "ignore it - it doesn't matter". But the latter means either that ADHD isn't easy to diagnose, or that doctors are negligently dismissive about the condition.

                      I'm hoping that it's not that easy to diagnose...

                      Vic.

                2. dogged

                  Re: rant-like journalism

                  I have a short attention span (with periods of hyperfocus during which I will forget everything else (code marathons happen) but sadly amphetamine just makes me twitchy, inclined to talk bollocks at high speed and susceptible to dance music or mundane household chores. Not compatible with work, in other words.

                  Some people just have busy brains.

                3. intrigid

                  Re: rant-like journalism

                  People with ADD have a much greater ability to identify and avoid pitfalls and come up with creative solutions to problems. You speak of ADD as if it were a genetic defect that has no evolutionary advantage. If that were true, it would have been cleansed from the gene pool long ago.

                  The world has enough worker bee drones.

                  1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                    Re: rant-like journalism

                    "People with ADD have a much greater ability to identify and avoid pitfalls and come up with creative solutions to problems."

                    Some of us do. Not all.

                    "You speak of ADD as if it were a genetic defect that has no evolutionary advantage. If that were true, it would have been cleansed from the gene pool long ago."

                    You do not understand how evolution works.

                    1. illiad

                      Re: rant-like journalism

                      um, evolution is mostly dead...

                      If you don't know how evolution works, it is 'survival of the fittest, able to pass their genes to their children..'

                      In this modern society, even the old and sick, the lazy, the diseased and incapable, are given lifesaving treatments...

                      In the wild, the above will all die, and those that survive due to being resistant , fast to avoid predators, stronger to beat others, then pass this on to their children.. therefore evolution makes stronger, more able, healthier animals.. this will take many lifetime to see any effect..

                      A recent example is a particular moth, normally with a black/ white mottled wings, made it home on a factory roof- after a few generations, its wings changed to mostly black, to fit in with the black roof - so its main predator, birds, could not see them easily... :)

                      1. croc

                        Re: rant-like journalism

                        Ah... The peppered moth (Birmingham moth) rears its ugly head again. It is a clear example of natural selection, not evolution.

                        Some would say that ADD and ADHD are also examples of natural selection, but I fail to see what the selection process is that chooses what seems to be a deliterious mental state as 'better'... Or are we just better at observing and naming (and possibly over-treating?) a trait that has been around forever? When I was a young'n, there was no such thing as ADD or ADHD. So, (obviously) there was no treatment for these non-existing conditions. Now, it seems that in certain countries these conditions are rampant. In others, not so much. (Iceland, Sweden, Italy and Australia seem to have much lower rates of ADHD compared to the USA.) What does seem to be a factor is that the US has studied (and treated) these conditions for about forty years. They have commonly been referred to as American conditions. It will be interesting to observe the outcome of this particular social experiment, however I am relatively sure I will not be around to see the conclusions reached.

                        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                          Re: rant-like journalism

                          "Some would say that ADD and ADHD are also examples of natural selection, but I fail to see what the selection process is that chooses what seems to be a deliterious mental state as 'better'... "

                          ADHD is not new. Molecular DNA estimates on the few genes we know are involved (and we probably haven't found more than 25% of those involved yet) suggest it's been there for a very long time.

                          There's a theory amongst a certain class of ADHD researcher that basically states that ADHD is more like the "natural" state of man when we first evolved, and far closer to how non-human animals think. The rationale being that individuals with ADHD, having a much lower decision threshold, are run on instinct a majority of the time.

                          The ability to move beyond this - to exert willpower and make decisions more consistently throughout the course of the day - is part of what makes humans so novel. In other words: the ability to force ourselves to reason, to concentrate and to suppress our instincts and make decisions based on logic rather than desire is what separates us most animals. Or, at least, the ability to do so consistently throughout the day without requiring to sleep in order to regain the ability.

                          "Or are we just better at observing and naming (and possibly over-treating?) a trait that has been around forever?"

                          Both of these are true. We're way better at diagnosing now, but many - especially those who haven't updated their knowledge since the 1980s - overtreat. See above, where we have a commenter who cannot separate the drugs used from the condition...and believes (at least partially) the condition is something that doesn't really exist, or can be "willed away".

                          It is a real condition with a real physiological basis, and individuals with ADHD demonstrate demonstrably different mental responses to various stimuli and thought processes. We can see this on an MRI. We've even begun to unravel the genetic basis for it.

                          "When I was a young'n, there was no such thing as ADD or ADHD. So, (obviously) there was no treatment for these non-existing conditions."

                          Ignorance doesn't shape reality; reality exists regardless of your perception of it. The condition existed, you simply didn't know about it. That lack of knowledge didn't make it any less real...just untreated. Ultimately, that meant that those individuals experienced a lower quality of life than they would have had they been able to obtain treatment. Sad, but now we can start to change that for future generations.

                        2. keithpeter
                          Windows

                          Re: rant-like journalism

                          Ah... The peppered moth (Birmingham moth) rears its ugly head again. It is a clear example of natural selection, not evolution.

                          I live a couple of miles from the Birmingham sampling ground. Have a look at Of Moths and Men by Judith Hooper. Might have been a clear example of a bird-feeder (and I am a UK based scientist without any interest in creationist twaddle).

                        3. shovelDriver

                          Re: rant-like journalism

                          What is evolution but natural selection? What is natural selection but . . .

                          The issue is whether "evolution" can happen in such a short timeframe as does "natural selection".

                          Well, facts show that it can and does. The only problem is the inability of many to accept that their pet theories are wrong. This moth is not the only known case of quick species adaption. Far from it. But you do the research; you're the "dinosaur" who needs to adapt . . .

                          1. illiad

                            Re: rant-like journalism

                            semantics, semantics... {rolleyes}

                            what is your definition of 'evolution' ?? Just put two good things together and expect a good result??

                            Two intelligent people have kids, and you may find that NOT all of them are intelligent...

                            two very average people have kids, some of them may be more intelligent, some not..

                            how does natural selection work??? the moth 'just decides' it will change its spots???

                            sorry, but things have to DIE to evolve... the offspring of the original moth had varying spot patterns...

                            ... you do know that the moth only lives for three weeks?? it may seem a short life to you, but...

                            Nature *selected* that the moths that were more visible to its prey were much easier to be killed...

                            Those that were not killed, of course had kids... and those kids that were not killed, went on to make more 'evolved to the environment' kids...

                            and of course we do not let 'weak' humans die... :/

                      2. Nigel 11

                        Re: rant-like journalism

                        um, evolution is mostly dead..

                        Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. The evolutionary landscape has changed, from the natural world to the man-made one.

                        Why do you think that ADHD has come to the fore as a modern ailment? Along with its more crippling relatives, Asbergers' and Autism. If you think it was just made up by medics with low moral standards to sell drugs, you are wrong.

                        Hyperfocus and the ability to enter "flow" can be advantageous or disadvantageous, depending on what you do. As technology has advanced, it has required more people with these mental attributes. It has rewarded them financially, but even more so it has rewarded them with challenging jobs. "The reward for a job well done, is a job well done". To a born programmer, architect, musician, ... that makes perfect sense.

                        Society has also been filtering these people and placing them in the same small subset of workplaces. Also they self-select as partners. Programmers have a reputation amongst the "neurotypical" for being difficult people with poor social skills. There's some truth in that. We tend to get on best with other people who think like us.

                        So men and women with these skills meet, and marry, and have children, and the children inherit a doubled up dose of whatever the genetic components of their parents abilities might be. And that's where survival of the fittest kicks in. What makes a good programmer, when doubled-up may give rise to either a one-in-a-million good programmer, or an autistic kid. One of whom goes on to found a multi-billion corporation, the other of whom is saddled with a crippling abnormality of mind.

                        If you want a clearer example, consider why it is that when Thalidomide victims grew up and married other Thalidomide victims, spomething truly shocking happened. Far too often to be chance, their children had similar abnormalities to their parents. Lamarkianism? Epigenetics? No, something more subtle.

                        Very many mothers took Thalidomide and did not give birth to deformed babies. The victims were by definition selected by the drug, for genetic traits that rendered them vulnerable to the drug. And then when two of these selected people had children, tragedy. The children inherited the vulnerability from both their parents, and in some cases the drug was no longer necessary to trigger the devastating consequences of their genetic makeup.

                        Evolution is still at work, selecting our children against an environment that is no longer natural, in ways that can be positive or negative.

                        A hypothesis I love because it annoys racists so much is the following. Humanity really is getting somewhat smarter than it was in the past, because of out-breeding.

                        It's unlikely ever to be proved conclusively. But consider this. The way a plant-breeder makes (say) a large-fruited tomato, is to selectively inbreed tomato plants, picking out the ones with large fruit compared to others from the same generation, and selectively inbreeding them , for several generations. The trouble is that the inbreeding is unhealthy and although the fruits get larger compared to the plant, the plant gets weak and disease-prone. The trick is to create a number of separately inbred plant strains, and then finally crossbreed (outbreed) them. The weaknesses (mostly) cancel out. The common genes do their stuff. You get vigorous healthy plants with very large fruits.

                        How does this apply to people? Well, over most of history most people lived in small rural communities and rarely travelled further than they could walk in a couple of hours. Some inbreeding was inevitable. We also consciously select our own mates. For what? Obviously: in men: strength, in women: beauty. I'd argue, in both: intelligence (as in smart, well able to provide for each other and their children).

                        And then along comes the industrial revolution, and you get nationwide outbreeding.

                        And then along comes mass air travel, and you get international out-breeding, despite the racists worst efforts.

                        (And if reading that has made any racists die of apoplexy, good.)

                    2. keithpeter

                      Re: rant-like journalism

                      "You do not understand how evolution works."

                      Would that be hardy-weinberg equilibrium or something deeper I should know about? Or simply that cognitive diversity may not have been linked to basic survival > 50kyr ago?

                      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                        Re: rant-like journalism

                        Traits don't have to be beneficial to stick around. Even detrimental traits will stick around, so long as they are not so detrimental they are selected against with extreme prejudice.

                        In addition, selective pressures were completely different at one point. ADHD is a detriment to humans in almost all ways except one: hyperfocus. There is a case to be made that hyperfocus could have allowed the first development of tools, even though it would be a massive detriment to a hunter.

                        An ADHD individual could gleefully spend almost all day, every day hyperfocused on a task with a clear reward circuit. Knapping arrowheads, for example. When you think about it, this is an activity with a clearly defined - and relatively short to achieve - goal. The more effort you put in, the more reward (completion) you get out. It's very similar to "grinding" in MMOs, which is something that we have a lot of evidence triggers hyperfocus in ADHD people.

                        It would also lead to these ADHD people becoming experts in their chosen feild of work, achieving a mastery few others could, and advancing the techniques slowly with each generation.

                        But put those same people on a hunting party and they'll be a liability. The requirement to control yourself in concealment for long periods of time before striking - or while dodging an angry predator - would be too much for most ADHD individuals.

                        So the evolution of ADHD, it's utility to the individual (and to society) is complicated. And it makes your statement ("you speak of ADD as if it were a genetic defect that has no evolutionary advantage. If that were true, it would have been cleansed from the gene pool long ago") seem like an attempt to paint a very black-and-white view of this complicated subject.

                        In today's society there is little advantage to ADHD. In all honesty, there probably hasn't been since the introduction of agriculture. It was then that social evolution mattered more than anything, and we began having to cope with multiple things occurring at the same time, more and more often.

                        Now, right up until about the 1950s it was reasonable for the minority of us that still had ADHD to find jobs that allowed for a short reward circuit one-thing-at-a-time approach to a profession. This is where ADHD people have always thrived: where they can engage in hyperfocus.

                        But as we began to build more and more devices of convenience even "single tasks" became a chain of smaller tasks, each requiring a mental shift into a slightly different mindset to accomplish, and with an ever more deferred reward.

                        Today's world is one of ever decreasing obvious rewards. We are part of a larger machine and knowing whether or not we've done something right is hard. We don't get that feedback immediately. And we need to know so many things about so many things that it is becoming difficult even for normal people to concentrate.

                        But ADHD people aren't normal. We - like many others on the Autism spectrum - are more extreme in their ability to cope with stimulus. We either hold 1000 threads in our mind and sift through the madness for a single sound, or thought, or smell...or we focus in on the narrowest of concepts and collapse our very consciousness down like a laser to see that something gets done, and done right.

                        ADHD people can't hold the modern world in our mind. There are too many threads, even for us. Too many sights, and sounds and smells...and we physically can't filter it. It overwhelms us; that part of our abilities is useless today.

                        And hyperfocus? The skill that traditionally would have been valuable? it's hard to find something - anything, really today - that allows us to use it consistently. Normal people have the advantage.

                        So..is ADHD "genetic defect that has no evolutionary advantage"? The answer is...yes and no. In all truth, what we consider to be "normal" cognition today is likely the mutation. ADHD is probably much closer to how non-human animals think. But ADHD has become a disadvantage as our society has evolved. It had a place. It may again, one day. For right now, today...it is likely to be selected against for generations to come.

                        That's evolution for you. Complicated. Messy. Anything but black and white. Past utility - or possible utility - is not evidence of continued or future utility. That's the key thing to bear in mind.

                  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                    Re: rant-like journalism

                    "The world has enough worker bee drones."

                    Worker bees & drones are two different things.

            2. Fungus Bob Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: rant-like journalism

              "But what can I do except stick with Linux or XP?"

              I hear some flavors of BSD are supposed to be secure....

              1. keithpeter
                Windows

                Re: rant-like journalism

                "I hear some flavors of BSD are supposed to be secure...."

                And OpenBSD runs surprisingly well on laptops that are not of the absolute bleeding edge shall we say. Three hours total to check out the source (1.2Gb of it) from the local public CVS (uk adsl over copper) and then compile the kernel, core OS and ports on a 7 year old Thinkpad (dual core). Have pre-ordered Version 5.6 as a donation even if I stick with Linux. Worth forty quid for the man pages alone.

                But security can also be had by restricting the connections. See quote below from OA

                "Basic things like "what programs are installed" and "what is the hardware configuration of your PC" are generally collected as part of operating system updates and/or automated troubleshooting systems because they provide clear technical benefits in solving technical issues. It would be pretty insane to say "don't collect this info, because NSA"

                Could this information not be collected and kept in local storage (a la lennart and his binary logs) then be made available for upload when needed? Can you not ascertain the nature of the packets leaking out of the machine ( a firewall rule based in the upload url springs to mind).

      2. Onslow
        Pint

        Re: Have you considered Dextroamphetamine?

        Jaws clenched tight, we talked all night.

        Oh, but what the hell did we say?

        The good times are killing me.

        Fed up with all that LSD.

        Need more sleep than coke or methamphetamines.

        Late nights with warm, warm whiskey.

        I guess the good times, they were all just killing me.

        - Modest Mouse

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: rant-like journalism

      Nothing wrong with rants in a tech tabloid. Nice rant, Trevor! :D

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "the Ribbon Bar was nothing more than a cheap UI gimmick to boost sales during a bleak-looking sales cycle via the introduction of novelty."

    Nonsense.

    The Office toolbar / menu UI was broken, and the ribbon is more discoverable than what came before. Yes, it's different, but at least it doesn't purposefully hide things like the "you've not used this button, I'm going to hide it" features added in previous versions to try and trim the UI down to something navigable. It takes up less screen space, highlights commonly used and important functions and is more organised. It even supports the old menu shortcut keys.

    Nobody is forced to use Microsoft software.The amount of abuse thrown at them because of things like deciding to make a flat icon rather than a detailed 3D one on this site is almost as hilarious as it is unbelievable.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Many of us are forced to use MS Software

      if we want gainful employment that is...

      The Ribbon is [redacted]. WTF does Windows explorer need a Ribbon Interface? At least you can get by with minimizing it but personally MS U/I design has gone totally to pot since the introduction of the Office Ribbon. The usability has really gone downhill and frankly the abuse they get is totally deserved IMHO.

      And at least I'm not hiding behind the A/C.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Many of us are forced to use MS Software

        > Many of us are forced to use MS Software if we want gainful employment that is...

        There are many many jobs out there that don't involve using Microsoft software, or even computers.

        > WTF does Windows explorer need a Ribbon Interface?

        Well, that's another thing entirely, but the author didn't seem to be referring to that inclusion of the ribbon, just it's invention for Office - where a UI overhaul was needed.

        > And at least I'm not hiding behind the A/C.

        You have to if you post anything in support of MS, or dare to admit you like the ribbon or own a Windows Phone through choice on here, because otherwise certain people like to follow you around. Posting as AC just means everyone thinks I'm one of the "many" MS shills on this thread, not every single thread I post on.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: Many of us are forced to use MS Software

          "There are many many jobs out there that don't involve using Microsoft software, or even computers."

          In essence, you are saying that individuals who find a given user interface onerous, unintuitive and detrimental to productivity should change careers instead of telling the developer "give us the choice of your old UI or the new one".

          That level of arrogance is, in my mind, equal to:

          :"Your honour, if you'd seen what she was wearing, you's know that she was asking for it".

          ...and I have for you the same level of contempt as I would the asshole who would use such an argument. You're a bad person.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Many of us are forced to use MS Software

            Are you really comparing a disagreement about UI's to justifying rape?

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              Re: Many of us are forced to use MS Software

              Telling someone that should not have the right to ask a developer to include a choice of UIs, but should instead quit their job and change careers in order to change UIs is absolutely, 100% as arrogant and horrible as justifying rape by saying that the clothing someone worse justified the action.

              Both cases are attempting to say that the desire of an individual to exercise a fairly minor amount of choice - asking a developer to offer a choice of UIs or choosing to wear $clothing_style - somehow justifies forcing massive and traumatic change on a person.

              "Go find a job that doesn't use computers" is the equivalent of telling someone "give up your current upper middle class job and go get a job that is minimum wage" because....they want to ask the developer of an application to provide a choice of UIs?!?

              Yeah, you know what? That's pretty goddamned fucked up. That is fucked right the hell up. That is easily as fucked up as saying anything justifies rape.

              And the inevitable argument "well you wouldn't have to change careers if you'd just learn to like the new UI " is exactly as fucked up as saying to someone "well, you wouldn't have been raped if you'd just worn different clothes."

              The loss of a job - let alone the requirement to change careers to something so dramatic as "does not use computers" if fucking traumatic. It absolutely can impart the very same feelings of loss of control, worthlessness and so forth as rape.

              Now, admittedly, rape tends to have a higher instance of PTSD after the event, but the effects for people who have be forced from a job - especially in situations where they cannot hope to return to a job as lucrative as the one they were forced from - absolutely have been known to have massively long term effects on individuals, including PTSD. In many places - Japan, for example - job related stresses, mostly related to difficulties in retention, competitiveness and downwards wage pressures - have led to an epidemic of suicides.

              So yeah, casually suggesting that people just go our an change careersbecause they shouldn't have the right to ask a developer to offer a choice of user interface options is just as fucked up as making fun of rape. That individual is completely trivializing the very real world - and very traumatic to a great many people - impacts of career loss.

              Comparing that to rape is not trivializing rape at all, but hopefully will serve to help you understand the very real importance and seriousness of the implications in what that individual has suggested.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Many of us are forced to use MS Software

                > Both cases are attempting to say that the desire of an individual to exercise a fairly minor amount of choice - asking a developer to offer a choice of UIs or choosing to wear $clothing_style - somehow justifies forcing massive and traumatic change on a person.

                Anybody who has "massive and traumatic change" forced on them by the presence of the ribbon is not somebody I'd want to share an office with. How would they react when we run out of digestives in the staff room?

                PS - loving the strawman you've erected - changing career isn't the alternative to offering a choice of UI. They're not even vaguely related. Changing career is an option for those who are unable / unwilling to continue to use certain software. There are many other less extreme options available too, such as moving to another department, recommending against using the new version which contains the hated feature, or even developing a solution to patch the offensive software so that it becomes usable again.

                1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                  Re: Many of us are forced to use MS Software

                  "Anybody who has "massive and traumatic change" forced on them by the presence of the ribbon is not somebody I'd want to share an office with. How would they react when we run out of digestives in the staff room?"

                  Where did I say that the presence of the ribbon was "massive and traumatic change"? I very specifically</I. called out an anonymous coward's comment that said people who didn't want to deal with the ribbon should change jobs - or careers - even to the point of ones without computers involved.

                  "PS - loving the strawman you've erected - changing career isn't the alternative to offering a choice of UI. "

                  That is <i>exactly</i> the choice that that suggested be made by the anonymous coward to whom I was responding, you pompous, arrogant gasbag.

                  "Changing career is an option for those who are unable / unwilling to continue to use certain software."

                  So is "asking the developer to offer a choice of UIs." In fact, "asking the developer to offer a choice of UIs" is <i>far more rational than "changing careers". It's even an option that doesn't negatively affect others. Holy pants, batman, what a fucking concept.

                  "There are many other less extreme options available too, such as moving to another department, recommending against using the new version which contains the hated feature, or even developing a solution to patch the offensive software so that it becomes usable again."

                  All of which are still dramatically more extreme than "asking the developer to offer a choice of UIs". The developer could even charge for the functionality.

                  Yet in your world, asking the developer for choice is anathema. Those who do so are deserving of denigration and disrespect, but telling them to go work in a job without computers is a perfectly rational thing to do?

                  What the metric fnord is wrong with you?

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Many of us are forced to use MS Software

                    > Yet in your world, asking the developer for choice is anathema. Those who do so are deserving of denigration and disrespect, but telling them to go work in a job without computers is a perfectly rational thing to do?

                    The only person who has suggested this is yourself. You brought "asking for choice" into the discussion . And even then you're wrong, people are quite able to ask Microsoft to give them the choice, and Microsoft are quite able to go "no, that will cost us too much to develop and make the software more complicated". Besides, even if there was an implemented choice on whether to use the ribbon or not, the vast majority of users wouldn't get to make it - it'd be the IT hell desk deciding on their behalf, just like they do with a huge number of settings on corporate desktops.

                    It's not about choice - there's very good reasons for offering choice, and there's very good reasons for denying them - it's about people getting upset that things have changed. If you don't like how things change in a job - be that equipment provided, management style or even staff room perks, sometimes it becomes necessary to move on, be that to a new company or career. It happens to people daily, with a lot less negative effects than being raped for "wearing the wrong clothes".

                    > What the metric fnord is wrong with you?

                    Right back at you.

                    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                      Re: Many of us are forced to use MS Software

                      "people are quite able to ask Microsoft to give them the choice, and Microsoft are quite able to go "no, that will cost us too much to develop and make the software more complicated"."

                      And that's between the end user (or the business owner) and Microsoft. There's no call to tell someone "if you don't like what's there, go get a job that doesn't use computers." That's not okay at all.

                      "Besides, even if there was an implemented choice on whether to use the ribbon or not, the vast majority of users wouldn't get to make it - it'd be the IT hell desk deciding on their behalf, just like they do with a huge number of settings on corporate desktops."

                      And that's where it becomes between the business and the employee. I agree that some - but by no means all - businesses would remove choice from the end user. In most instances, I find that defaults are applied as part of policy, but with a level of customizability being allowed. (The level varying between organizations).

                      "It's not about choice - there's very good reasons for offering choice, and there's very good reasons for denying them - it's about people getting upset that things have changed."

                      Wrong. It's about choice. The choice I have as a business owner, for example. There are plenty of industry-specific applications for which no alternative exists that must run on Windows. Now the Ribbon Bar is part of the most fundamental parts of windows - such as Windows Explorer - and can't be avoided. Why shouldn't I be able to ask Microsoft to retain the option for traditional menus? Why shouldn't I encourage others who would like the same choice to also ask Microsoft for that choice?

                      Microsoft can say no - in which case my opinion of Microsoft as a supplier will diminish - but what business is it of yours (or anyone else's) that I ask Microsoft for that choice? What business is it of yours if I feel that Microsoft are less worthy as a supplier for not offering the choice, even as a paid option?

                      "If you don't like how things change in a job - be that equipment provided, management style or even staff room perks, sometimes it becomes necessary to move on, be that to a new company or career. It happens to people daily, with a lot less negative effects than being raped for "wearing the wrong clothes"."

                      But this isn't just about a decision made by management. Management never had a choice to make. That choice was removed from them; and from everyone. And the discussion wasn't left at "if you don't like change in a company, leave that company". Very specifically the suggestion was made to even go so far as to change careers to the point that one worked in a career without computers at all.

                      At this point, in 2014, that is recommending that someone make a change in career with massive qualitative - and income - implications.

                      I absolutely do not get how a potentially massive quality of life change is a rational or acceptable expected response to a desire for choice in a software UI?

                      We're not talking about a minor change like "how the tables are laid out in the break room". This is closer to the world's overwhelmingly dominant semi truck manufacturer changing all the displays on their semi trucks to Klingon, and embedding them in the roof instead of on the dash. In response to drivers wanting the option of buying semi trucks with the displays in English and on the dash you say "if a driver doesn't like the change he should quit, potentially seeking employment where driving isn't involved."

                      It is a preposterously disproportionate response.

              2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

                Re: Many of us are forced to use MS Software

                Well said Mr Pott.

                I've been using computers since 1972. Those were the days of punched cards, paper tape and batch runs overnight. Then I got a PDP-11/40 to play with for my degree project. I've been writing software and building the odd bit of hardware to go with it ever since.

                Been there, done that got the 'T-shirt' (in larger sizes these days).

                I'm close to retiring so yes I will get a job that does not involve computers in a little over two years when I hit 65. Until then I have to use Microsoft in my day job. For my personal use it is OSX, Linux and and the occassional bit of OpenVMS when I run up the Dec Alpha 2100 that I have in the garage.

                Windows is trying desperatly to be everythnig to everyone (much like Ubuntu seems to be) and is IMHO doomed to failure. IT won't happen overnight because far too many businesses are totally dependant upon thei software to function. A case of 'form over function' but hey what do I know, I can only do Octal addition.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Many of us are forced to use MS Software

                "The loss of a job - let alone the requirement to change careers to something so dramatic as "does not use computers" if fucking traumatic. It absolutely can impart the very same feelings of loss of control, worthlessness and so forth as rape."

                Not to trivialise the impact of rape, but with good counselling and support from family and friends, rape doesn't automatically imply that you have to downgrade your home, get rid of your nice car, forgo those nice holidays you used to have, and never be able to eat in the restaurants you once enjoyed.

                This is what the deluded fool is telling people to do.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Trollface

                  Re: Many of us are forced to use MS Software

                  Microsoft rapes my computer every time is boots up.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Many of us are forced to use MS Software

                  > rape doesn't automatically imply that you have to downgrade your home, get rid of your nice car, forgo those nice holidays you used to have, and never be able to eat in the restaurants you once enjoyed.

                  Neither does changing career.

              4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
                Thumb Up

                Re: Many of us are forced to ... HOLY SHIT!

                Seriously Trevor, have you ever considered writing dialogues for Quentin Tarantino movies? Those for the actors not playing the part of Sun People, that is.

                1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                  Re: Many of us are forced to ... HOLY SHIT!

                  Well, if we're being serious, in all the things I've tried to write, it is "writing dialogue" which I find the hardest. It makes me sad, as - ultimately - the thing I want to do with my life is write a sci fi trilogy I've been working on for some time. Sadly, that's hard if you suck at dialogue.

            2. Cipher
              FAIL

              Re: Many of us are forced to use MS Software

              This article and comments thread reminds me why I need to stop reading Mr. Potts:

              The rape analogy would get many people fired, most commentards on hand moderation and is plain ridiculous. The asshole remark surely would...

              Potts seems to be the only author that feels the need to write very long articles, followed by multiple incursions into the comments to use gratutitous language to defend every single point he makes in nit pick style.

              Shame too, sometimes he makes good points...

              1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                Re: Many of us are forced to use MS Software

                "The rape analogy would get many people fired, most commentards on hand moderation and is plain ridiculous. The asshole remark surely would..."

                I'm sorry you feel that way, and I genuinely apologize if I've offended. That said, I do feel that in this case the comparison is, in fact, valid.

                This isn't like an employer setting a rule and the employee having to obey. It's so much bigger than that. The employer doesn't even have a choice here. It absolutely is an individual (well, a company) in an unapproachably powerful position simply forcing their will on others.

                Now, in and of itself, there's no way that's like rape. There are a number of avenues available to the individual in any rational society to address this. Starting with "asking the developer to provide choice", through to "getting lots of others to raise their voices in unison" and so forth.

                But that gets very different when we talk about "submit or find a different career". If those are the only two choices allowed then I very much so believe that has parallels with any number of traumatic events you could name.

                To be clear: I am very specifically comparing the idea that an individual should have no choice but to choose between dramatic career change and accepting a UI they don't like as putting that individual in a massively negative place where they would feel helpless, hopeless, without power or recourse and for the stupidest and most unbelievably fucked up of trivial reasons. So fucked up that - to me at least - is absolutely is as crazy as saying depriving someone of their power via rape is okay "because they wore the wrong thing".

                Any rational society would allow for an entire universe of possible alternative actions and outcomes. "A third party is going to impose a change you don't like. If you don't like it, quit and/or change careers" is completely disproportionate. Somewhere in there should be the ability to ask why this change is occurring. To seek alternatives to this change.

                Nobody should have the right to tell you should be made to change careers because you don't like a UI.

                I accept the possibility that this just means my outlook on life is horribly skewed and that I, in fact, am the bad person. Hell, I'd be barking mad not to believe that could be the case.

                ...but I see in both cases an overwhelming and unstoppable force saying that something massively negative should occur to an individual for the most trivial and outright insane of reasons. If you believe that makes me a bad person, I accept that. Maybe I am.

                In the meantime, however, I will continue to believe that the guy who suggests changing careers is the appropriate response to an enforced UI change is the bad person.

          2. Hit Snooze

            @ Trevor

            If you had the choice of losing your job or being raped what would you choose?

            Rape and losing your job are in two very different categories that cannot be compared to each other.

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              Re: @ Trevor

              "If you had the choice of losing your job or being raped what would you choose?"

              Honestly? I'd chose the rape, though only by the narrowest of margins and only if the job loss was "career loss" class as exemplified by the "a job without computers" portion of the comment. I don't remotely expect that everyone will feel the same, and I think the specific circumstances matter a hell of a lot in making that call.

              To be honest, I feel that just by asking that question is such a blatantly black-and-white fashion you are trivializing both rape and career loss without giving any real consideration to the effects of either.

              Both are traumatic events that are horrible, but I will heal from the rape. Lose my job and I might never be able to return to a position where you make a similar income, have the same opportunities for advancement, etc. I might lose your house, I might lose everything.

              "Rape and losing your job are in two very different categories that cannot be compared to each other."

              Oh no? Why not? Rape comes in two parts: violence - or the threat thereof - enacted against the individual is the first part, and the easiest to overcome.

              The second part - the damning and damaging part - is a lifelong feeling of a loss of control. You feel like you don't have value. That you don't have worth. You feel that maybe you deserved it, that something about is fundamentally wrong. Some days are better than others, granted...but it never leaves you. It haunts you. It underpins your personality and serves as a subconscious, silent reminder that - underneath it all - you're just an object, a toy, a disposable thing.

              There is nothing trivial about rape; not because of the violence of the event - and remember many rapes aren't violent in any way - but because of the legacy it leaves, imprinted on the mind of the victim...often for a lifetime.

              Losing one's job comes in two parts. The initial loss of income and it's immediate fallout, and the long term effects, should this result in a major quantitative negative change in quality of life.

              Loosing one's job - especially in cases where an individual cannot return to the level of income or possibility of career advancement they had previously - can lead to feelings of loss of control, powerlessness and hopelessness. The fewer your options for new employment, the more you feel like a worthless "thing". A toy, to be discarded. There can be massively negative social implications; humiliation, ostracisation, even the disintegration of that individual's family.

              The loss of a job - especially one that is of such a dramatic change that one is "working without computers" - can be hugely traumatic. Going from $100,000+ a year to digging ditches has absolutely proven to make people suicidal, amongst other things.

              Being perfectly honest, I fear the concept of that level of job loss - especially against my will and over something so trivial as expressing a preference for a given UI! - even more than I do rape. At least people understand rape. There are trauma centers and counseling and an entire constellation of support mechanisms to help people cope with the psychological trauma that comes form that.

              But the long term psychological trauma of having one's life turned upside down due to career-ending-class job loss? As a society, we won't even touch it. We will cheerfully let people kill themselves off rather than face up to the fact that this is problem.

              When I think about the sort of job loss discussed here - massive career change to the point of "not working with computers - I picture the issues of reintegration of soldiers, or the problems faced by an aging population who lose their jobs but can't get a new one. I've seen instances of that being every bit as horrible - and as frightening to me - as rape.

              But there are pitifully few social institutions to help those who have lost their job. There is a massive amount of social animosity towards them - "get a job, ya bum!" - and fuck all in terms of sympathy if they've gotten a job, (or two, or three or four) but so far below what they were making previously that they sink into a massively long term clinical depression...or commit suicide.

              We mock, disparage, disrespect and discourage those who lose their jobs, especially if the individuals "falls so low" as to go from a well paying job to "one without computers involved."

              I can see in both cases a loss of power. I can see in both cases feeling like an object, a "disposable person". I can see in both cases feeling as though I had no value, and never could have value in the eyes of others.

              But only in one case do I see that society would be ready and willing to try and help me fight my way back to feeling human again.

              Before you fly off the handle of political correctness, I strongly encourage you to spend some time with people who have honestly tried to rebuild their lives after losing a good paying job, but failed. Those who have put years into it, who have worked the minimum wage jobs, lost their houses, or been told time and time again they're "too old".

              Please try to take the time to understand that rape isn't alone in being a life-changing negative event. Trivializing job loss - especially career loss - is every bit as asinine as trivializing rape.

              There are those who feel that in this thread I have trivialized rape. I honestly don't believe I have. I believe, instead, that the people who decry my comparison are trivializing the long term emotional damage that forced career loss can - and does - have on many people in our society.

              I also believe that such comparisons must be made, if we are ever to force ourselves - and our society as a whole - to confront the problem and find solutions that preserve the dignity of those affected. Hate me if you want to; that is what - to me - this thread has been about.

              1. Anonymous Bullard
                IT Angle

                Re: @ Trevor

                Honestly? I'd chose the rape

                If you chose it, then it's not rape.

                Anyway, this whole thing is a strawman on a valid point you originally made - I just wish you gave a less controversial analogy for the ignoramuses to pick up on.

                1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                  Re: @ Trevor

                  "If you chose it, then it's not rape."

                  Actually, that's not true. The new standard is "enthusiastic participation", not mere acceptance, specifically because of situations where choosing to be violated is the least horrible of a bunch of very horrible offerings. Look to the new laws in California, specifically regarding coitus on campuses.

        2. xenny

          Re: Many of us are forced to use MS Software

          > There are many many jobs out there that don't involve using Microsoft software, or even computers.

          most of the latter are on borrowed time until people in the former finish writing shell scripts.

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